LOS ANGELES — The Seahawks love to run. They wanted to run against the Rams on Sunday night.
But it was a different kind of running game for Russell Wilson, who had to scramble in and out of trouble — and at times back in again — while fleeing the pocket in a listless 28-12 loss that knocked the Seahawks out of first place in the NFC West.
“Obviously, it felt like we weren’t ourselves out there. We all felt that,” Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister said. “We’ve just got to flush it tomorrow and move on from it.”
The Seahawks were held without an offensive touchdown for the first time since a 17-9 loss at Green Bay on the opening game of the 2017 season.
The Rams sacked Wilson five times and hit him 11 times in all, and they held the Seahawks QB without a touchdown pass for the first time this year.
“Hey, we did our thing today,” said Rams linebacker Cory Littleton, the former Washington Husky. “We tried to show we’re the best defense out there and we proved that today.”
The Rams (8-5) scored on their opening drive. They never trailed. The Seahawks (10-3) never mustered much of a serious threat.
It didn’t help that backup running back Rashaad Penny — coming off two of the best games of his young career to give the Seahawks a stout 1-2 punch with Chris Carson — was lost on the game’s opening drive to a left knee injury.
After the game, Pete Carroll described Penny’s injury as a “significant” ACL sprain.
“It was a big injury. That’s like my brother, so it was tough seeing him go down,” Carson said. “The game plan was to run the ball. We’ve got three, four running backs that can do that. We took a next-man-up approach, but like I said that’s real tough to see him go down.”
The Seahawks ran the ball just 21 times, a season low in attempts, for 106 yards.
Carson had 76 yards on 15 carries. He did reach 1,000 yards for the second year in a row, but he wasn’t in much of a mood to celebrate.
“To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about it,” Carson said. “I had a couple players congratulate me, but on a night like this when you lose one of your close friends and you don’t get the win, I don’t think too much about it.”
Because the Seahawks fell behind early — the Rams took a 21-3 lead into halftime — they had to abandon the run more than they would have preferred. The Rams knew that, and that allowed them to employ their potent pass-rushers.
That meant added pressure on Wilson.
“We got down so that kind of had an effect on the play-calling. But all credit goes to that defense over there,” Carson said.
Aaron Donald, the two-time NFL defensive player of the year, was credited with 1.5 sacks and four QB hits on Wilson.
“They had a great game plan,” Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett said. “I just think they had a lot of pressure on us today and it kind of threw us in a hole early on.”
Lockett wasn’t much of a factor again Sunday night. He had four catches for 43 yards against the Rams, after having only one catch the preview two games because of illness and injury.
Getting him back into form ought to be a top priority for this Seahawks offense heading to Carolina next weekend.
“I just think we’ve been running the ball more (lately), so we haven’t been as focused as much on just trying to like ‘Air Raid’ the ball like we kind of did earlier on (in the season),” Lockett said.
He added: “We haven’t been running plays to be explosive. We’ve been running plays to run the ball and control the clock. We haven’t really been trying to go over the top like we normally have, because teams have been game-planning that.”